Seat belt offences - 773/20

Date Responded 10 June 2020

Provision of information held by Northumbria Police made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the 'Act')

As you may be aware the purpose of the Act is to allow a general right of access to information held at the time of a request, by a Public Authority (including the Police), subject to certain limitations and exemptions.

You asked:

“1. How many people have received fixed penalty notices over the last 5 years for allegedly not wearing a seat belt.
2.How many were male and how many female.
3. Of those who were female, how many were over the age of 40.
4. How many over the last 5 years have challenged the fixed penalty in court revnin wearing of seatbelt.
5. How many were successful. Again, please break these numbers into male and female”

In Response:

We have now had the opportunity to fully consider your request and I provide a response for your attention.

Following receipt of your request, searches were conducted with the Fixed Penalty Unit of Northumbria Police. I can confirm that the information you have requested is held by Northumbria Police however cannot be disclosed for the following reasons.

The information requested is not already held statistically and it is not held in a format that would allow us to extract within the permitted 18 hour threshold.  For 2019 alone there were in excess of 3200 fixed penalty notices for not wearing a seatbelt issued by the Fixed Penalty Unit.  To provide a response to the details asked in points 2 – 5 would require each of those offences to be manually reviewed.  Even at a conservative estimate of 5 minutes per record, which we have considered as reasonable, we have estimated that to locate, extract and compile this information would take over 266 hours, for 2019 alone. This is without taking into consideration any offences that may have been witnessed and recorded by officers.  Obviously this would increase the time to extract even further.  As your request would exceed the time/cost threshold,  Section 12(1) of the Freedom of Information Act is applicable. This section does not oblige a public authority to comply with a request for information if the authority estimated that the cost of complying with the request would exceed the appropriate limit of 18 hours, equating to £450.00

You should consider this to be a refusal notice under Section 17 of the Act for your request.

However, in order to provide you with some assistance, under Section 16 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, an initial assessment of the information that may be provided within the time constraints would be question 1 from 2017 only and for those tickets that were dealt with by the Fixed Penalty Unit only.  We would reiterate that these figures  should not be taken as being an accurate overall Force total for the issues outline above, ie that officers may have witness such occurrences that would not be included in those figures. Those offences dealt with by officers cannot be provided within the time constraints.

If this would be useful, you may wish to refine and resubmit your request accordingly.

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